Doug Stanhope, a comedian who claims to be a good friend of Johnny Depp, has accused Amber Heard, the actress who recently filed a restraining order against Depp, of blackmail.
Stanhope’s supposed exposé, which was published by The Wrap on May 29, contended that Heard’s claims of physical and emotional abuse at the hands of Depp—as well as a photograph of Heard’s bruised face obtained by TMZ, which she cited as proof of the abuse—were false.
Stanhope, whose past credits include hosting Comedy Central’s The Man Show and guest appearances on The Howard Stern Show, maintained that he and his girlfriend Amy “Bingo” Bingaman were with Depp on the night of May 28—only hours before police arrived at the residence in response to a domestic dispute between the actor and Heard. He then stated that he witnessed Heard “threatening to lie about [Depp] publicly in any and every possible duplicitous way if he didn’t agree to her terms.”
Stanhope then launched into a diatribe about how Depp, not Heard, was the abused party of the couple—and that Hollywood, “the entertainment industry at large,” and “society as a whole” were part of the reason why Depp, Stanhope, and Depp’s friends had remained silent on the matter.
We’d watched it build like this since before they were married. We’d watched her manipulate and f— with him for years. We didn’t say a word. To each other, yes, but never to him.
When your friend is in an awful, abusive relationship — man or woman — and you risk weighing in that their counterpart is a demon, you know the odds are they will jump right back into the fire and then dump you from their life for being honest.
Most of us have been on one or both sides of this coin. Choosing to be blinded, or removing the people who have clearer eyes that can guide you.
The fact that Hollywood and the entertainment industry at large — f—, society as a whole — turns a blind eye to domestic violence is abhorrent.
While domestic violence or emotional abuse against men is extremely under-reported—in the case of the former, The National Domestic Violence Hotline cites a study by the CDC that suggests “one in seven men age 18+ in the U.S. has been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in his lifetime”—it’s important to note that Stanhope’s allegations also come in the wake of Heard’s own accusations that Depp physically assaulted her. Essentially, Stanhope’s assertions are the direct inverse of Heard’s.
At the time of this article’s publication, there have been no prior statements that corroborate Stanhope’s narrative, though stars such as Paul Bettany, Andy Richter, and Evan Rachel Wood have announced their support for either Depp (in the case of Bettany) or Heard (in the case of Richter and Wood).
Since news of the divorce between Heard and Depp became public, Depp’s only commentary on the divorce and the allegations against him have been through either his PR reps or his attorney Laura Wasser, who stated on Friday in an exclusive with People that Heard’s “current application for a temporary restraining order along with her financial requests appears to be in response to the negative media attention she received earlier this week after filing for divorce.”
In his essay, Stanhope admitted that Depp was unaware that the comedian planned to publicized his account of his relationship with Heard, and expressed his fear that in defending Depp, he “would just come across as a sycophant trying to attach myself to a sensationalized story in order to further my career.”
“I didn’t jump into the fray because I was weak; it was because I didn’t want to look like a name-dropper,” he added. “I’ll name drop him now. Johnny Depp is my friend.”
As of now, neither Heard, Depp, nor their respective representatives have responded to Stanhope’s version of the story.
Update (12:15 a.m.): This article originally stated that Andy Richter spoke out in support of Johnny Depp, not Amber Heard. This has since been corrected.
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